Great Covers: MYSTERY IN SPACE #100

This cover to the 100th issue of the long-running science fiction anthology title MYSTERY IN SPACE is simultaneously totally on-the-nose while simultaneously being intriguing as hell. Yes, this moment is silly, but it promises an exciting story within, one laden with cross and double-cross. In many cases, though, once a buyer had paid their dimes and pennies, they were too often confronted with the reality that the image that so enticed them into picking up the issue was just a one-panel diversion from the main story, contrived so as to justify the cover. This was the downside of the notion of coming up with the cover image first, but it’s really an editorial fault first and foremost. The editor commissioned a story based on a given cover, and he or she could have insisted that the subject matter of that story hew a bit more centrally to the idea being displayed. The fact that the editors seldom did underscores the fact that most people working in the industry at that time felt that the cover was what sold the magazine, and that content was largely irrelevant so long as it met a certain standard. It was this thinking that caused DC to give up a lot of ground as tastes changed in the 1960s. This cover was penciled by Dick Dillin and inked by Sheldon Moldoff, a combination that I don’t recall having seen before this. Dillin was a journeyman, best remembered for his long stint on JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, though he served an equally long tenure on BLACKHAWK prior to that, dating to before DC purchased that property from Quality Comics, which was shuttering its operation.

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